Galápagos Islands Eco-Yacht Adventure

About the Experience

You sit quietly aboard the solar powered private yacht, your trusty vessel. This gleaming ship sits upon the sea like a small crescent moon – white and waiting. You are sailing into the Galapagos, into the waters where Charles Darwin himself once unraveled the mysteries of our creation.

Here, in this place of secluded grandeur, you can’t help but feel as if you yourself are being recreated anew. With every view of dusty sunset or strip of white coral beach, a new memory…a new experience…is unfurling within you.

This isn’t a “beach getaway.” This isn’t a “cruise.” This is a place of bold discovery and quiet revelation. You will walk stretches of land that serve as nesting sites, awestruck by the cluster of creatures: shearwaters and boobies and awkwardly beautiful brown pelicans. You wave hello to Darwin’s Finches. Then pop in a snorkel and bob alongside a friendly sea lion for an afternoon swim.

Your days are filled with tortoise corals, fiery flamingos, and jaw-dropping oceanic blowholes. You truly are in the heart of the earth’s discovery centre – where scientists from all over the globe come to marvel at this precious pocket of so many wonders. And now here you are – a part of the wonder.

Click here to see the full itinerary!
Galápagos Islands Eco-Yacht Adventure

About the Experience

You sit quietly aboard the solar powered private yacht, your trusty vessel. This gleaming ship sits upon the sea like a small crescent moon – white and waiting. You are sailing into the Galapagos, into the waters where Charles Darwin himself once unraveled the mysteries of our creation.

Here, in this place of secluded grandeur, you can’t help but feel as if you yourself are being recreated anew. With every view of dusty sunset or strip of white coral beach, a new memory…a new experience…is unfurling within you.

This isn’t a “beach getaway.” This isn’t a “cruise.” This is a place of bold discovery and quiet revelation. You will walk stretches of land that serve as nesting sites, awestruck by the cluster of creatures: shearwaters and boobies and awkwardly beautiful brown pelicans. You wave hello to Darwin’s Finches. Then pop in a snorkel and bob alongside a friendly sea lion for an afternoon swim.

Your days are filled with tortoise corals, fiery flamingos, and jaw-dropping oceanic blowholes. You truly are in the heart of the earth’s discovery centre – where scientists from all over the globe come to marvel at this precious pocket of so many wonders. And now here you are – a part of the wonder.

DAY 1  

In the morning fly from Quito (UIO) to Puerto Baquerizo Moreno (SCY) on San Cristobal Island, and transfer by bus then Zodiac to our private eco-yacht anchored in the bay.  After the welcome orientation a delicious buffet lunch is served on board. 

In the afternoon, travel by bus to Cerro Tijeretas (Frigatebird Hill), one of two sites where you can see nesting colonies of both species of frigatebirds (Great and Magnificent), as well lava lizards, the medium ground finch and the Chatham mockingbird. Walk along the trail to Punta Carola for scenic views, then return to the yacht in the evening for a briefing followed by our Captain’s welcome party and dinner.

shutterstock_265791809

DAY 2

We spend the morning at Cerro Brujo, a breathtaking white coral beach, with expansive views and good birdwatching.  Take a peaceful walk along the beach, snorkel or kayak or swim with sea lions. Enjoy a scenic zodiac ride through a cave called The Cathedral before returning to the yacht for lunch. 

Go ashore this afternoon at Punta Pitt, a tuff formation that serves as a nesting site for many sea birds including all three types of boobies – blue-footed, red-footed and Nazca, both frigatebird species, swallow-tailed gulls, storm petrels, shearwaters and brown pelicans.  Punta Pitt is considered one of the best sites for birds in the archipelago, and is also home to a colony of sea lions. At Pitt Rock, we snorkel or swim with sea lions and colorful fish such as King Angel and Surgeon fish. Return to the yacht for a briefing followed by dinner.

  39gps_piqueros_hi-res

DAY 3

Disembark at Punta Suarez on ESPANOLA (Hood) Island, home to the greatest number of endemic species found in Galapagos. Sea lions bark noisy greetings as we land on the beach, while curious Hood mockingbirds peck at our shoelaces. Colonies of blue-footed boobies engage in sky-pointing to show off for potential mates. From April to December, the waved albatross, found only on Espanola, performs its wild mating ritual.  Other easily spotted wildlife are the Nazca boobies busily caring for their young, stunning swallow-tailed gulls, the only nocturnal gulls in the world. 

We also find Darwin’s Finches, Galapagos Doves, red-billed tropicbirds and Galapagos Hawks, as well as a unique species of marine iguanas with traces of red and green colorings. Follow the trail to the dramatic ocean blow hole, watch for colorful sally light-foot crabs crawling along the shoreline.  Return to the yacht for lunch on board. 

Disembark at Gardner Bay, where large colonies of sea lions dot the seemingly endless white-sand beach.  Take a leisurely stroll or relax on the beach, watching the Galapagos hawk, Darwin’s finch, or Espanola mockingbird.   Swim with playful sea lions from the beach, explore the bay and islets by kayak or stand-up paddle board. Take a Zodiac ride to explore the caves covered with invertebrates.  Admire the colorful array of underwater life at the excellent snorkeling site near Tortuga Rock. Return to the yacht for a briefing followed by dinner.

DAY 4

Step ashore at Punta Cormorant on FLOREANA (Charles) Island, where the olive-sand beach is alive with the sounds of sea lions, lava herons, yellow-crowned night herons, blue-footed boobies, and penguins.  Follow a trail to a brackish lagoon, home to Bahama ducks, common stilts, Galapagos flycatchers, yellow warblers and the greater flamingos. Wind your way past a rich variety of plants including the morning glory, cut-leaf daisies, mangroves (black, red and white), palo verde and scalesia.

The trail leads to a beach where sea turtles lay their eggs in the powdery sand dunes and sting rays swim in the shallow water. After the walk, there is an opportunity to snorkel at Champion Islet, a shallow sunken crater colonized by a brilliant array of colorful fish and coral, white-tipped sharks, sea turtles, spotted eagle rays and sea stars.  Lunch is served back on board on the sundeck, weather permitting. Floreana is one of the few populated islands in Galapagos with a rich and intriguing human history. 

After lunch, visit one of the most famous sites in Galapagos, Post Office Bay, where a post barrel was erected in the late 18th Century for use by English whaling vessels.  Visitors are invited to leave a post card and to pick up any mail destined for their home town. There is an opportunity to swim from the beach with sea lions. Late afternoon, take a Zodiac ride near Baroness Point to look for sea turtles and rays.  Return to the yacht for a briefing followed by dinner.

photo by Chad Case

DAY 5

Disembark at Puerto Ayora, SANTA CRUZ Island, the social heart of the Galapagos, with a population of 24,000. Travel by bus to the highlands, passing through all seven vegetation zones found in Galapagos.  Visit the tortoise reserve at Las Primicias, a private farm that protects giant tortoises in their natural habitat.  Stop at the Tunnels, the largest lava tubes in the archipelago, and visit Los Gemelos, (The Twins), a pair of large craters.  Return to the yacht for lunch on board.

This afternoon we visit the Centro de Crianza Fausto Llerena (formerly the Charles Darwin Research Station).  Visit the tortoise corals and the breeding center with hatchlings and miniature tortoises that will be repatriated when grown.  Scientists from all over the globe conduct biological research at the station from anatomy to zoology.  Visit the new exhibit honoring Lonesome George, a worldwide icon of conservation as the last surviving tortoise from Pinta Island that tragically died of natural causes.  Stroll through town to shop for souvenirs or stop at an internet café.  Return to the yacht for dinner or, if you wish, remain ashore for dinner on your own.  Zodiac shuttles from our yacht to the main dock will be offered throughout the evening.

shutterstock_363801677

DAY 6

Today, guests on board the Eric visit Las Bachas (Spanish for barges) on the northern side of Santa Cruz.  Explore the long stretch of a white sand beach and the interior lagoons populated by greater flamingo, then take the opportunity for some wonderful snorkeling from the beach.   Guest onboard the Letty will have a Zodiac ride at Caleta Tortuga Negra (Black Turtle Cove) through a series of coves and inlets surrounded by mangroves.  View pairs of mating sea turtles (Sept to Feb), white-tipped reef sharks and golden cow-nosed rays.  We return to the yacht for lunch. 

After lunch, disembark at BARTOLOME, a young Island that is inhospitable to most plants and animals.  Climb the long wooden staircase to the summit of a dormant volcano, pausing along the way to marvel at lava bombs, spatter cones and cinder cones.  It seems as if we are walking on the moon!  The panoramic view from the top encompasses the entire island, including the distinctive eroded tuff cone known as Pinnacle Rock.  The crystal clear water below beckons for snorkeling with schools of tropical fish, white-tipped reef sharks and Galapagos Penguins.  Take a Zodiac ride along the rocky shoreline.  Return to the yacht for the evening briefing and dinner.   

shutterstock_303312494

DAY 7

Today’s visit is at SOUTH PLAZA, a small geological uplift with tall cliffs where swallow-tailed gulls, shearwaters, and red-billed tropicbirds build their nests.  The trail leads us through Opuntia (prickly pear) and Sesuvium, and land iguanas are seen here feeding on cactus leaves.  The island is also home to a  colony of bachelor sea lions, with dominant bulls in various stages of recovery from battles over prime beach territory. Return to the yacht and snorkel between North and South Seymour in deeper water. 

After lunch, go ashore at NORTH SEYMOUR, a small geological uplift to observe swallow-tailed gulls, blue-footed boobies and endemic land iguanas. Visit the largest colony of Magnificent frigatebirds in the Galapagos, and watch for marine iguanas and sea lions body surfing the northern swells.  Return to the ERIC for the Captain’s farewell cocktail party and dinner, followed by a slide show presentation.

DAY 8

Travel by bus to the Interpretation Center on San Cristobal to gain a more complete understanding of the natural and human history of the Islands. Afterwards, spend time in port before heading to the airport for your 3 hour flight back to Quito (UIO) , arriving in the early evening. From there, you may arrange to fly home in the evening or continue your adventure with our optional Amazon Rainforest Extension!

Amazon Rainforest Extension (4 days)

Located in the heart of one of the most biodiverse ecosystems on the planet, Ecuador’s Yasuni National Park is rich with extraordinary wildlife and vibrant local culture. Spanning nearly 2.5 million acres of Amazonian rain forest. Napo Wildlife Center is a gem to be cherished and the only lodge within the Yasyni park boundaries, an important biosphere reserve and the largest tract of tropical rain forest in Ecuador.

Napo Wildlife Center is one of the most successful projects of community tourism in Ecuador. The project has an excellent standard of accommodation and service, making your stay an unforgettable experience in the most biodiverse place on the planet! It is located in the territory of the Añangu Kichwa Community totally inside of the Yasuní National Park, here, hunting and fishing is forbidden in all the area of the Community. And this is one of the main reasons why you can see so much wildlife in its natural state!

Day 1

Depart from Quito on your 30 minute flight to Coca over the eastern Andes mountain range. Land about mid morning and go through airport procedures. Take a 5 minute transfer in local chiva (hired bus) or local taxi from airport to Port La mision / Francisco de Orellana, which will drive us to embark onto a comfortable covered motor boat.

Here we start a canoe ride along the Napo river for about 2 hours. There will be a lunch box in route. Along the way birds like herons, kingfishers and others can be spotted. After arriving at NWC’s entry dock we disembark for a restroom break and then take a majestic and peaceful 1 to 2 hours dugout canoe ride surrounded by trees overhead, paddling along a narrow creek that connects to the lake where the lodge is located. There is a good possibility of seeing monkeys of various species, as well as large birds like toucans, parrots or even macaws. Late afternoon arrival to the NWC lodge with the overwhelming view of the Añangu lake, welcome drink and facilities.

Day 2

Early wake up to reach the parrot clay licks, about 1 hour away from the lodge. Arrive just before parrot activity kicks off at the clay lick between 7:30 to 8:30AM. A total of 11 species of parrots, parakeets and macaws can be seen. The visit is weather-dependent, but usually successful. Later, hike along forest trail to visit the Kichwa Community of Añangu for sharing time with a family and an intro to their daily activities. Return to the creek and hike through a Terra Firme Forest for about 30 minutes until we arrive to the second parrot clay lick where, if the weather conditions permit, we’ll be able to find different species of parrots, parakeets and even macaws. Lunch box served at the parrot clay lick observatory. Late afternoon arrival to the lodge.

Day 3

After early breakfast, depart from the lodge to the finest experience at a canopy tower on the Napo. This 36m high canopy tower is a great way to experience life above the forest floor. This is the second tower at the Napo Wildlife Center (the first is attached to the dining hall and allows great views of the lake).

The tower is located about 30 minutes from the lodge deep within the terra firme forest. As you ascend the 12-floor tower, you pass through different levels of the forest and emerge on top of a huge Ceiba tree. Here you cross onto a wooden platform that is actually built into the tree and experience a view formerly reserved only for birds. The metal tower itself was constructed to the highest standards, galvanized, and carefully inspected by engineers. Safety is the priority. The platform at the top of the tree was constructed by tree platform specialists as well.

From top to bottom, there is no finer canopy experience in Eastern Ecuador. Flocks of colourful tanagers weave through the canopy; blue and yellow Macaws fly past; a nearby Spider Monkeys searches for fruit; two species of large toucans call in the early mornings and afternoons; and the life of the forest canopy opens before you. Birds that are virtually impossible to see from the forest floor far below are suddenly right beside you, oblivious to your presence.

The canopy tower opens a whole new world to guests of the Napo Wildlife Center! Lunch served at the lodge. Afternoon visit to a terra firme trail, hike along primary forest to discover the forest interior, with possibilities of finding lizards, colourful manakins or the unique and endemic golden mantle tamarin monkeys. After the hike, explore the lake and creeks by dugout canoe with great possibilities of running into a giant otter family on the way…

Day 4

Early departure and last canoe excursion back to the Napo river. The creek may reveal new sights of giant otters, monk saki monkeys or many other rare birds. Arrive at docking area, use of restrooms and embark on motorized canoe back to Coca; approximately 2 hour boat ride. Check in for Coca – Quito flight.

Price: $1595 USD
What’s Included:
• Return airfare from Quito-Coca-Quito
• River transportation to Coca – Napo Wildlife Center
• Accommodation
• Meals
• Entrance to Yasuni National Park and parrot clay licks
• Community and naturalist bilingual guide
• Impermeable poncho and rubber boots
• All excursions and activities, as described in program

 To book your Amazon lodge extension, contact our Adventure Specialist Alice Will at alice@wildwomenexp.com

Click here to see upcoming trip dates to book your spot!